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Jeff Gordon will drive pace car in this year’s Brickyard 400

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Jeff Gordon will come out of retirement to drive in this year’s Brickyard 400 and expects to be at the front of the field.

Well, kind of.

Gordon will be behind the wheel of the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 pace car, bringing the field to the green flag for the 24th edition of the Brickyard on July 23, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The first driver to win the Brickyard 400 in 1994, Gordon went on to become the winningest driver in track annals with five wins (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2014). He also earned 17 top-10 finishes and three poles.

The four-time NASCAR Cup champion will also be enjoying a homecoming, having grown up during his teen years in nearby Pittsboro, Indiana.

He came out of retirement last year to replace the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in last year’s Brickyard 400, which ostensibly will likely be the last of Gordon’s career. He finished 13th, the first race of what would become an eight-race stint in Earnhardt’s stead.

This will be the first time Gordon has not raced at Indianapolis.

“It’s hard to believe this is the 24th running of the Brickyard 400,” Gordon said in a statement. “This has been a very special race over the years – for me and NASCAR.

“Winning at the famous Indianapolis Motor was a dream of mine as a kid. I’m excited to lead the field to the green at this year’s Brickyard 400.”

Added IMS president J. Douglas Boles, “It’s only fitting Jeff will be out front and leading, a place where the fans of this great race are accustomed to seeing him.”

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NASCAR America: Looking back at Cup winners this year (video)

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The NASCAR Cup Series is through 19 racers. There are 17 more races to be contested, including seven before the Cup playoffs.

It’s been a rough time for many and a successful time for a select few.

There’s still plenty of racing to go. Who will see their name added to the list of winners in 2017 and, more importantly, who still wins a race to make it in the playoffs?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Can Team Penske get back on track in Indianapolis? (video)

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Roger Penske is used to winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He owns a record 16 Indy 500 victories there.

But Penske still has yet to win a Brickyard 400 at IMS. While in other years, Team Penske’s chances may have been stronger, coming into the 2017 Brickyard 400 is a whole other ballgame.

Joey Logano has struggled terribly in the last 10 races. Since winning at Richmond (which was eventually encumbered due to a post-race inspection penalty), Logano has had seven finishes of 21st through 37th. He’s also dropped from fifth to 13th in the standings.

Teammate Brad Keselowski has had his own struggles, dropping from third to eighth in the standings.

The biggest problem that seems to be impacting Team Penske is a lack of speed, more so on Logano’s car, but an issue nonetheless for both cars.

Can Team Penske snap out of its funk and find the speed it’s been missing Sunday, and potentially give Captain Penske his first NASCAR Cup win at the track that means so much to him?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch needs to be aware of Martin Truex Jr. at Brickyard (video)

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Kyle Busch is well aware of his wins drought, not having won in his last 36 Cup starts.

But he also gains confidence and optimism from having won the last two Brickyard 400s.

So how will that impact the weekend?

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Dale Jarrett said Indy “plays into Busch’s hand,” but also to look out for Martin Truex Jr.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: Significance of winning at Indianapolis (video)

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On Friday’s edition of NASCAR America, two-time Brickyard 400 winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Brickyard-winning crew chief Slugger Labbe, who led Paul Menard to a Brickyard 400 win, both discussed the importance of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — as well as how to do it.

Check out the video above.